Sen. Hawkins Pre-Files Bill To Allow For Regional Aquatic Center
Twelfth District Republican Sen. Brad Hawkins officially pre-filed a bill in the state legislation Monday to allow local governments in Chelan and Douglas counties to partner together to establish a Regional Aquatic Center and Sports Complex.
The bipartisan bill is co-sponsored by 22nd District Democratic Sen. Sam Hunt, whose Olympia-based district is also considering an aquatic center.
Senate Bill 5001 would alter the existing Public Facilities District statute to let communities in the region to seek voter approval to construct and operate an aquatic center and recreational sports complex.
Voters would likely vote on a 0.2 percent sales tax at the city and county level to finance the project.
Hawkins has hosted several meetings in the past several months with local mayors, county commissioners, regional port, chamber, community leaders, and swimming groups.
There's some interest in locating the project in the Wenatchi Landing area just north of East Wenatchee, which sits on 283 acres near the Odabashian Bridge.
Hawkins secured $4 million in state funding for the Douglas County Sewer District to be extended into the area a few years ago.
A statement from Hawkins' office says building a center in Wenatchi Landing would help meet an aquatic and recreational need in the region, and could also spur development of new hotels, restaurants, and retail shopping in the immediate area.
The Chelan-Douglas Regional Port Authority has agreed to conduct a 12-month feasibility study to analyze the project and economic benefits.
“Officially submitting the bill today represents an important step forward in what will likely be a multi-year community process, said Hawkins. “I hope the Legislature will grant our area authority to form the district while we continue to thoughtfully consider and collect public input on our future facilities.”
Hawkins is hosting another meeting to discuss the proposed aquatic center with stakeholders on Wednesday.